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    Woodstock-1969/2019-One Fan's Journey
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    Since I was a huge fan of the music that was the rage in 1969, I quickly purchased my 3-day ticket (for $18) for the upcoming Woodstock Music and Art Fair, billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music".
    After being turned away from the original site choice in the actual town of Woodstock, and then again from their second choice of Wallkill, festival organizers would finally find a home on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm near the tiny hamlet of White Lake in Bethel, NY.
    I was working on Wall Street at the time, and a co-worker, Leonel Figueredo (aka “John Fig”) would also be making the trip.
    The excitement in the office started to build early on Friday as we listened on a transistor radio to news reports that told of the thousands of like-minded fans who had already arrived at the site, with many more on the way.
    We had a plan. Since I wanted to see some of the folk performers who were scheduled to perform on Friday, people like Richie Havens, Melanie, Tim Hardin, and Joan Baez, I would leave work early, while John would go home and pick up his wife, sleeping bags, and food. We would then meet at the front gate later that night(yeah, right!).
    I hopped on the subway shortly after 4pm, heading to NY’s Port Authority Bus Terminal. When I arrived, I quickly realized I hadn’t taken into account the fact that I wasn’t the only one in the area who wanted to make the pilgrimage to White Lake. The fever had spread and the Terminal was jammed with hundreds, if not thousands, of young people waiting to make the same trip!
    It was many hours before I finally got a seat on a Short Line bus. A ride that normally lasts a little more than an hour took much longer, and by the time I got to Woodstock (channeling Joni Mitchell!) it was after 1am Saturday morning!
    When I got off the bus (in the rain), I could hear music in the distance, so I was thankful that I might still be able to salvage some enjoyment out of the first day. As I walked towards the light emanating from the stage, I saw silhouettes of people walking along the road in front of me, the most striking of which was a guy who looked like a shepherd, complete with a flowing robe and a staff. And then I saw a large tepee, which, I found out later, was where they were treating people who were having bad LSD trips. I was definitely in the right place. To cap off the night on the right note(no pun intended), I got to hear one of my favorite singers, Joan Baez, sing the last few songs of her set!
    As for that grand plan to meet my friend John at the front gate, festival officials, faced with a last-minute choice of either completing construction of the stage or the fencing that was meant to allow only ticket holders into the area, chose the former and announced that “from now on, it’s a free concert”. Hoping to hook up with John later in the morning, I grabbed a few hours of sleep on the driest (or least wet) patch of ground I could find.
    Thanks to a bank of pay-phones that were on the premises, I was able to reach John’s mother, who told me that her son was waiting for me (with the necessary supplies) at a gas station a few miles away. I started walking, occasionally hopping on the hood of any car that was going in the right direction, and finally found the gas station, only to discover that John had been told to vacate the premises! I made my way back to the festival the same way I left, and settled in for a 2nd day on my own. I never did hear MC Chip Monck announce from the stage that people looking to meet someone should go to the “message tree”, where, of course, John waited for me before giving up!
    I’m sure I saw other acts on Saturday, but the only one I remember hearing is Janis Joplin, who went on after midnight. As an indication of how tired I was, I found myself falling asleep on my feet as Janis wailed from the stage!
    After another restless night of sleeping on the ground, I had enough and started working my way home on Sunday morning. As I walked back to the bus station, I passed many of the local residents, most of whom had done a complete turnaround in attitude since they first heard about the festival, along with “drug-crazed” hippies, coming to their sleepy little town. After realizing that the attendees really were there just for “peace and music”, the locals wound up helping to feed them when food vendors ran short of supplies.
    As Max Yasgur, who took a lot of grief from his neighbors for allowing the festival to take place on his farm, said when he addressed the crowd,”…you’ve proven to the world that half a million young people could get together and have 3 days of fun and music, and nothing but fun and music, and I God bless you for it”!
    Thanks to the many rain-delays that occurred during the scheduled 3-days of performances(August 15-17), the festival extended into Monday. In fact, Jimi Hendrix was still playing at Woodstock when I made a painful return to work, nursing a wicked case of bursitis in my shoulder brought on by sleeping on the wet ground!
    When asked, I always tell people it was one of the best times of my life, but also one of the worst times of my life. All in all, though, I’m oh-so-glad I was there!
    Knowing that 2019 would mark Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary, I received a “groovy” Christmas gift last December—tickets to the Museum at Bethel Woods(The Story of the 60s and Woodstock), which is located on the original site, and a certificate noting an inscribed brick that is part of the walkway outside the Museum’s entrance.
    I returned to the site on Monday, found my brick, and thoroughly enjoyed the Museum, which has done a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of that never-to-be repeated experience that was Woodstock!
    And I got to walk around the beautiful grounds (no mud in sight!), trying to picture where I might have been standing 50 years ago. If you’re a fan and are ever in the Catskill area, you owe it to yourself to find your way to Bethel!
    The official 50th Anniversary celebration begins on Thursday (August 15) with an open-air showing of the Director’s cut version of the Woodstock documentary in the field where most of the festival-goers sat 50 years ago. Among the stars performing over the next few days—Arlo Guthrie, Ringo Starr, Edgar Winter, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Santana, Doobie Brothers, and John Fogerty.

    Some Helpful Links

    Playlists
    http://www.woodstockstory.com/bandsp...lists1969.html

    Daily Journal
    https://www.liveabout.com/the-woodstock-diaries-748092

    https://www.history.com/topics/1960s/woodstock

    Photos/Videos
    https://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/mu...ailable-online

    Bethel Woods Center For The Arts
    https://www.bethelwoodscenter.org

    Museum
    https://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/museum

    Max Yasgur Speaks to the Crowd
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hfzv04sx4E

    Daily Lineups
    Friday—Richie Havens, Sweetwater, Incredible String Band, Bert Sommer, Tim Hardin, Ravi Shankar, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie, and Joan Baez.
    Saturday--Quill, Keef Hartley Band, "Country Joe" McDonald, John Sebastian, Santana, Canned Heat, Mountain, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, and Jefferson Airplane.
    Sunday—Joe Cocker, Country Joe and The Fish, Ten Years After, The Band, Johnny Winter, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Sha-Na-Na, and Jimi Hendrix.
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    #2
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    An enviable memory, Walt.
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    #3
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    I was invited to go to Woodstock that summer after HS graduation. but when I heard about the likely conditions there, I passed. It would have been a great 'experience, but I'm sure I would have been miserable. I went camping once and hated it!

    On a related note, this whole geezerhood thing isn't working for me. I just had my 50th reunion (yikes!) and vividly remember that when I was a senior, and the alums from 1919 came to campus, I was appalled and aghast at the condition of those decrepit beings. The way they looked, the way they talked, the music they listened to - it was like they were from a distant country, completely alien to me.

    I still teach and my Spotify playlist is playing as they come in, filled with songs from the 60s - Beatles, Stones, the Who, etc. - but instead of laughing at my superannuated choices, these teenagers love it. They can 'name that tune' and tell me that's some of their favorite songs.

    I really think that most Baby-Boomers are like me and are in compete denial of their senior citizen status.

    'I may be old, but you can't me me grow up.'

    Anyway, thanks for the anecdote; we're not old, we're just . . . yeah, we're really old. . .
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    #4
    Thanks for the great post, Walt! I did not make it there ( I was only 10, and you know how parents can be.....), but I would love to have heard any of those performers. I have seen a few since then, but it could not be the same. The excitement and electricity of that event, in the context of what was transpiring all around, was one of those rare, beautiful moments that can never be recaptured.
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    #5
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    Thanks, Walt
    Another link https://www.woodstock.com/

    Anyone who hasn't seen the movie really should have a look.

    We had another Woodstock thread here a number of years ago, not sure which one. I found a website where someone had tried to track down recordings of as many songs from the concert as they could. Out of something like 250 songs (or more?) they were able to find recordings of about 95% of them.
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    #6
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    I have an older colleague, he told me that he hitch hiked to Woodstock.

    I said to him "were you crazy, you could have been killed out there on the roads".

    He said to me" "are you crazy, everyone was hitch hiking back then , it was a peaceful and wonderful time"

    I think George Jones made a song about you people!


    By the way, Ten Years After Alvin Lee stole the show!!!
    Last edited by user4; 08-15-2019 at 07:59 PM.
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    #7
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    When I was young in the 1930s-40s, hiking was common and no one worried about danger. It was 225 two-lane dirt roads from our Kiowa County farm to OAMC in Stillwater, OK. I could hitch hike it about as fast as it could be driven..... until a man named Billy Cook went on a cross country killing spree... then it became more problematic.
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    #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolf View Post
    When I was young in the 1930s-40s, hiking was common and no one worried about danger. It was 225 two-lane dirt roads from our Kiowa County farm to OAMC in Stillwater, OK. I could hitch hike it about as fast as it could be driven..... until a man named Billy Cook went on a cross country killing spree... then it became more problematic.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Cook_(criminal)

    wow, mind bending. Billy Cook, a case study of a broken dysfunctional family leading to horrible tragedy.
    Last edited by user4; 08-15-2019 at 10:33 PM.
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    #9
    Story behind the Woodstock poster
    https://www.ocregister.com/2019/08/0...appened-to-it/
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    #10
    Fascinating story, Walt! A very different time, to be sure.
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